The 4.5-meter (14.8-foot) saltwater female crocodile has become an icon to the people in Palu, the capital city of Central Sulawesi. The beast was seen on the city’s river with the tire around its neck becoming increasingly tighter, running the risk of choking her.

A wild crocodile with a used motorcycle tire stuck around its neck for six years has finally been freed by an Indonesian bird catcher named Tili. The tireless effort that wildlife conservation officials hailed as a milestone Wednesday.

His biggest save to date was six years in the making.

In 2016, residents near the Palu River spotted a crocodile with a tire around its neck, earning

him the name “the crocodile with a tire necklace.”

Local conservationists have made two failed attempts to catch the animal and remove the tire. Professional crocodile wranglers from Australia also flew to Indonesia to try to catch the elusive reptile but came up empty-handed.

That’s when Tili stepped up.

“I caught the crocodile by myself,” he said. “I was asking for help from people here but they were scared.”

During his first two attempts, the ropes he used weren’t strong enough to contain the massive creature. So on his third attempt, he went with something much stronger: Nylon ropes used for tugging boats.

But the ropes alone wouldn’t be enough. In order to lure the crocodile close enough for him to be captured, Tili used chicken as bait… and it worked!

At this point, Tili had caught the attention of several bystanders. But instead of just standing by and watching, dozens of them joined in on what had become a three-week-long rescue mission.

First, they helped drag the crocodile to shore. Once his jaws were securely shut tight with a rope, Tili used a saw to remove the tire.

After a few loving pets for the frightened croc, he was returned back to the river a much happier fellow.

“I did not learn this anywhere,” Tili said of his crocodile rescuing prowess. “I just can’t stand to see animals hurt.”

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